Completely Unofficial, Made-Up Migraine Types: The Zombie

Many of you have told me you really identify with one or more of the “Completely Unofficial, Made-Up Migraine Types” I have written about here on  Once in awhile, someone will tell me one of their own made-up categorizations and I think to myself, “Yes! I have that one, too!”  Well over a year ago, a community member named Lisa S. left the following comment on one of my article links on Facebook:

“I call the tough-to-kill ones ‘zombies.’ You try to kill it, you think it’s dead, it gets back up again and takes another bite at you. You take another whack at it, you knock it down, it gets back up again…like in a zombie movie! Even my doc got a kick out of that one.”


Of course other knowledgeable community members mentioned that Lisa could be describing rebound migraine, which could indeed be the case—but not necessarily.  Sometimes, at least in my experience, a migraine attack can persist despite treatment, and it’s not due to the rebound effect (at least according to my own research and my neurologist’s opinion). Rather, the migraine is a zombie, its body unable to be eradicated. Sure, you can wound it and perhaps even temporarily weaken it, but there is no killing the Zombie Migraine.  You treat it the best ways you know how and wait for it to move on to the shadows (and hopefully not to another migraineur victim!).

I keep track of my migraines pretty thoroughly using apps on my phone (my go-to is Curelator), so I have a rich store of data to access when I want to try to figure out why my patterns are changing—and oh, how they change! Recently I had the Zombie Migraine and still can’t figure out what made it different from the episodes that are treatable easily with meds.  Sometimes I can take my medication and the migraine gets gone and stays gone; other times the zombie takes root and the migraine can hang out for a few days, falling and getting up again several times. I looked at the weather, shifts in hormones, my stress levels, my sleeping patterns, diet and exercise regimen, and more. I fear the only explanation I came up with was this: the migraine that visited me was a zombie.

Have you ever had this particular Completely Unofficial, Made-Up Migraine Type? Has the Zombie Migraine visited you recently? How was it different from your regular attacks? How far into the episode did you realize you had a zombie in the mix?

(Big thanks to Lisa S. for inspiring this post with her spot-on idea. Let me know if you have any other made-up migraine types you want to read about!)

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